A Mosquito That’s Nice to Have Nearby

Air Force Research Lab engineers at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, have developed a prototype portable system that will allow USAF special operators to survey ground hardness quickly and efficiently when they are establishing landing zones in remote areas. The engineers crafted the system based on an urgent warfighter requirement for a lightweight, automated way of taking ground-penetration measurements to determine if the soil can support the weight of a landing aircraft. Working with Alliance Spacesystems of Pasadena, Calif., the engineers needed only two weeks to devise a way to mount or tow the company’s Mosquito automated ground-penetration device on a small dirt bike. The portable prototype displays penetration depth and the data are tagged with date, time, and GPS coordinates. To date, operators have been pleased with the prototype’s performance in field testing, according to AFRL. (Wright-Patterson report by Allen Nease Jr.)